On The Sad State of Macintosh Hardware

The inevitable march of technology means Mojave won’t install on all of our older hardware. There’s no shock there, but the situation is rather distressing when it comes to spending money to purchase new equipment. Here is the situation, as reported by the wonderful MacRumor’s Buyers Guide:

Buyer's Guide showing 'Don't Buy' on nearly all Macs

At the time of the writing, with the exception of the $5,000 iMac Pro, no Macintosh has been updated at all in the past year. Here are the last updates to the entire line of Macs:

  • iMac Pro: 182 days ago
  • iMac: 374 days ago
  • MacBook: 374 days ago
  • MacBook Air: 374 days ago
  • MacBook Pro: 374 days ago
  • Mac Pro: 436 days ago
  • Mac Mini: 1337 days ago

Source: Rogue Amoeba – Under the Microscope » Blog Archive » On The Sad State of Macintosh Hardware

How the 12.9-inch iPad Pro took me by surprise and replaced my laptop.

Great review of the iPad Pro and it’s strengths: Battery, Screen, Smart Connector, Multitasking, as well as its weaknesses

When typing a lot…

Unfortunately, the Smart Keyboard is not a panacea that fixes all iPad Pro issues and makes it a trailblazing creation machine. When typing for extended periods, like writing this post over many sessions, I run into two issues with text input using the Smart Keyboard:

  • Repetitively placing a cursor or selecting text is a chore. It’s tedious to constantly move your hand from the keyboard up to the middle of the screen as opposed to a closer adjacent mouse as you have become accustomed to with a computer.
  • Staring down at a screen begins to hurt my neck after a long time. I get the same thing when using a laptop for too long and always prefer connecting my computer to a raised display so I only have to look straight ahead, not down.

While I can’t exactly fix the first issue (though I have tinkered with using the Pencil to more accurately tame the cursor/text selection), I can come up with a quick solution to the second issue: use an adjustable iPad stand and a wireless keyboard.

Hold on a second, I know what you’re thinking. This is ridiculous for a portable machine. I agree, and I use this setup sparingly. Really only when I know I will be using the keyboard for a long writing session

Source: Made on an iPad Pro — PaulStamatiou.com

Phone calls are dumb and lack of enforcement made it that way.

This happened 3.4 billion times last month, where someone had to make the decision to pick up or to let it go, and give in to the change.

Source: Why Doesn’t Anyone Answer the Phone Anymore? – The Atlantic

Why and how the Cryptobubble will burst

The likeliest scenario is that the two elephants in the room (US, EU) issue some sort of regulatory framework for ICOs and cryptoassets in general. I expect them to distinguish between pure network token or cryptocurrencies (which will likely include Bitcoin, Ethereum and some others) and security token. Almost all of the existing ICO space will firmly fall under the security token regulations. (Edit: SEC chairman Clayton: “I have yet to see an ICO that doesn’t have a sufficient number of hallmarks of a security.”, Wall Street Journal Nov 9 2017)

As a result, all major exchanges that have any kind of human owners, developers or known actors will be mandated to de-list all of these security token with immediate effect and they will follow this order. As for decentralized exchanges, given the trade in these token will be illegal and the projects that sold them might well have to refund investors, I am not so sure these are the way out that solves everything. I actually hope they aren’t because regulatory certainty is a positive, not a negative.

When this happens, all ICOs will lose 90%+ of their value (just like during the .com bubble…) regardless of the strength of their projects. I keep bringing this up, but Amazon fell to 5.5 USD / share in 2001. It now trades at 1000 USD+. So also the good projects will fall 80–90%…

At the same time the utility token related to the ICO boom will probably crash in tandem (after potentially spiking as most people first sell their security token for utility token and then for bitcoin and then for fiat), but possibly not as deep and they will recover in time. Most of these are valuable technologies that nobody wants to harm in the long term. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin will also be impacted, but I would expect an almost V-shaped recovery there as the listing of futures on the major exchanges, the formation of ETFs and more regulatory certainty will undoubtedly introduce institutional money to the space and more than 90% of that will flow into Bitcoin. Make no mistake though, Bitcoin will also suffer.

Source: Why and how the Cryptobubble will burst – DK – Medium

HomePod as a background computer

However, the fact that HomePod packs a speedy processor and is unconstrained by battery limits means that HomePod could eventually serve as a smart home computer in the background. Both HomePods and Apple TVs could be orchestrated to handle background tasks distributed across your home network.

Source: Will HomePod make a second splash at WWDC 2018?

an interesting thought to offload battery sucking tasks to other devices in your home connected to the same id.

I Tried to Watch a Video of a Puppy and Accidentally Sent Every Photo I’ve Ever Taken to Google

I texted him asking to see a picture. He responded with a video that he uploaded to Google Photos. Because I had Google Photos installed on my phone, it tried to open in the app. You cannot use Google Photos on iOS—even to view photos that have been shared with you—without granting the app access to all the photos on your phone. Because I was drunk, and because I wanted to see the puppy, I changed my app permissions. I watched the video (very cute, embedded below), the band started, I put the phone in my pocket.

Source: I Tried to Watch a Video of a Puppy and Accidentally Sent Every Photo I’ve Ever Taken to Google – Motherboard

Apple becomes the fourth largest smart speaker brand worldwide

Apple announced the Siri-powered HomePod in June 2017. However, it didn’t begin shipping units until this February. Through the end of the March, Cupertino shipped 600,000 HomePod units. What’s remarkable about this number is that the speaker is only available in three countries: the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Plus, HomePod is $349, much more than what competitor charge for their smart speakers.

Source: Apple becomes the fourth largest smart speaker brand worldwide – Redsn0w Jailbreak 8.3 – 8.4 Evasi0n iOS Jailbreak 8.2

What if JavaScript wins?

In each of these cases, if we look past the flaws of the communities that enable them, we see a deeper pattern: software being evaluated based on its social success and social merits, rather than just some ostensibly “objective” technical merit.

It’s impossible to say if this idea of evaluating a programming language as a social network is a valid way to judge the technology. But every indication is that the feedback loop around the JavaScript ecosystem is increasing in strength. Though most “serious” developer tools are insistently polyglot (and indeed, every indication is that most working coders do make use of more than one language in their work), it may make sense for forward-looking platforms to disproportionately invest in JavaScript for their futures.

Source: What if JavaScript wins? – Anil Dash – Medium

She’s not real, right?

The subject was Miquela Sousa, better known as Lil Miquela, a 19-year-old Brazilian-American model, musical artist, and influencer with over a million Instagram followers, who is computer-generated. “She’s not real, right?” Nikola asked me shyly. She knew the answer, but something about Miquela made her question what her eyes were telling her.

At first glance, or swipe, Miquela could understandably be mistaken for a living, breathing person. She wears real-life clothes by streetwear brands like Supreme and luxury labels like Chanel. She hangs out with real-life musicians, artists, and influencers in real-life trendy restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, where she “lives.”

Source: Lil Miquela: The Digital Avatar Instagram Influencer

another example to expand on my earlier tweet

What Google isn’t telling us about its AI demo

Google may well have created a lifelike voice assistant that we’ll all eventually use to complete mundane tasks like appointment scheduling. It also might be close to creating such a thing, but not quite there yet. Or it was partially staged. Or something else entirely. We just don’t know, because Google won’t answer the questions.

Source: What Google isn’t telling us about its AI demo – Axios